You know about the Johnsons (Calvin, Andre and Chris), but have you considered the Browns? Yes, draft days are coming – “I see a red door and I want to paint it brown” – Antonio Brown, that is, and Donald Brown. It’s not so much that I love their last name, it’s more that I love their average draft positions. We all look for that guy between Rounds 5-9, where most drafts are won, that produces more like someone from Rounds 2-4. And after the first five rounds, I’m willing to gamble a bit. How will you paint it?
In most mocks, expert and live, Antonio Brown is being selected after Round 5, and sometimes as late as Round 7, an average draft position of Round 6. But the thing is Antonio could easily be a Top 10 wide receiver, if not better. He quietly broke 1,100 yards last season. He also had 41 rushing yards with an average of 5.9 yards per carry, and that’s not counting his return yards. Bonus, he occasionally returns and runs the ball – that especially helps if your league counts returns yards, as one of mine does; a very sneaky way to gain yards, which equal points.
In 2010, Antonio took one to the house for 89 yards. In 2011 he was the first player in NFL history to have more than 1,000 yards receiving and 1,000 return yards in the same year. This year, he claims he’ll keep returning punts and kickoffs. Oh, and did I mention Ben Roethlisberger, the guy who throws Brown the ball, played injured most of 2011 and thus not to form for a good part of the season?
OK, so you are concerned about his touchdown production. I am too, a little, but let us not overreact. With the retirement of Hines Ward, a wide receiver who has done more than his share of end zone dances. Add some of those to Brown. Nice. Not to mention, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ new pass-happy offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, as well as a few newly drafted offensive linemen to help Roethlisberger do his thing. All should add up to Antonio Brown being a steal in Round 5 or later.
Then there is the other Brown, Donald Brown. I know, I know. He plays for the Indianapolis Colts. But, do not be so quick to forget he showed some ability and was reasonably consistent when given the chance last season. And with Joseph Addai sharing the backfield with Brown in 2011, he wasn’t given much of a chance – that is my point. The guy has only started 11 games in three years. He surprised us all when on 16 carries against Tennessee, he ran for 161 yards and a touchdown. And against Carolina when he ran for 80 yards and a touchdown on only 14 carries. Makes one wonder, what might he do with 20-25 carries – because that’s exactly the workload he could be in for in 2012. Andrew Luck should be good enough to keep defenses honest, and it’s not like Reggie Wayne is dead. What other starting running back do you know, that should be the bell cow, with an average draft position of around Round 8? It at least begs the question – What Can Brown Do For You?